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The last two decades in larger historical context

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fantasus View Drop Down
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    Posted: 14 Sep 2009 at 22:28

Anybody interested in following question: What is special about present era in history compared to other eras? In what important way, if any, are they different?

Some posssible points of view: 1:In the last 20 years there have been less violent international disputes and conflicts, especially between the biggest powers, but not in "terrorism" in a broader sense. 2: Less population growth (many places decline), more ageing(it may be controversial wether this is for the better or worse).3: More interdependence between different parts of the planet, much less isolation (especially politically motivated). 4: The "environment issue" has been more important (though 20 years ago some may have thought it was only a short lived "fashion"?)
Of course the list could be made much longer, and perhaps some would not include my points.
Of course one may also mention a lot of events, but others may chose first.
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xristar View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote xristar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2009 at 22:43
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

1:In the last 20 years there have been less violent international disputes and conflicts, especially between the biggest powers, but not in "terrorism" in a broader sense.
Really? What confrontation had there been between the two "biggest" powers before?
And were the yugoslav wars not "violent" enough? and right in the doorstep of Europe? My country (Greece), an EU and NATO member, was almost dragged in, and interestingly enough on the "other" side.
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

2: Less population growth (many places decline), more ageing(it may be controversial wether this is for the better or worse).

I'd say ageing is almost fully accepted as a bad thing, at least in my village.

What you didn't mention, and i think is by far the biggest contibution of the last two decades to world history, is the electronic revolution, a revolution that took explosive dimensions some years ago, and by now is settling down ( making it a definitive '90s-'00's trademark). Our way of life has changed quite rermarkably in a few years.


Edited by xristar - 14 Sep 2009 at 22:45
Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new?
it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
-Ecclesiastes
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2009 at 00:17
Originally posted by xristar xristar wrote:

Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

1:In the last 20 years there have been less violent international disputes and conflicts, especially between the biggest powers, but not in "terrorism" in a broader sense.
Really? What confrontation had there been between the two "biggest" powers before?
One may rather ask if not most of the era before 89 (and after 44/45) was more or less one confrontation, though not escalating to war between the two. And there were armed incidents beteen other of the "greats":China/USSR, India/China, and a rather long list of often long wars between states(indochinese, Algerian, Israeli, India/Pakistan, numerous african). Of course there was numerous conflicts later, though I have some impression, right or wrong, of lower intensity, despite, Iraqi, Afghan, Yougoslav, Chechen experiences.
Originally posted by xristar xristar wrote:

And were the yugoslav wars not "violent" enough? and right in the doorstep of Europe? My country (Greece), an EU and NATO member, was almost dragged in, and interestingly enough on the "other" side.
  At least from the start one may argue they were "internal" or "civil" wars.

Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

2: Less population growth (many places decline), more ageing(it may be controversial wether this is for the better or worse).

Originally posted by xristar xristar wrote:

I'd say ageing is almost fully accepted as a bad thing, at least in my village.
Perhaps it is a bad thing for that village, but outside there may be some brighter sides (one example: for those who live longer. Some could also ask if older populations become wiser, though others may object they become senile. There may be no consensus here and frankly I am not sure).


What you didn't mention, and i think is by far the biggest contibution of the last two decades to world history, is the electronic revolution, a revolution that took explosive dimensions some years ago, and by now is settling down ( making it a definitive '90s-'00's trademark). Our way of life has changed quite rermarkably in a few years.
[/QUOTE] Of course i could have mentioned that "revolution", but there may be two reasons to wait: one is large parts of that "revolution" happened earlier. Two: perhaps its role and the positive/negative aspects is not complete clear yet (even if the positive may dominate).
Staying alone this "revolution" can hardly solve our problems
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2009 at 01:54
The biggest change in the post war world is that it has made the possiblity of another world war almost insignificantly small. As long as both sides possess enough Nukes to bomb the sh*t out of each other, the only possible result would be complete annihilation, or mutually assured destruction (MAD) No strategic gains are possible, no ideology, even extreme fascism, could possibly hope to have a positive outcome from a global war. The major difference has been the advent of 'proxy wars', be it the South Africans (Americans) V Cubans (Russians) in Angola or The Israelis (Americans) V Hezbollah (Iran) in Lebanon a couple of years ago. (OK, I admit the last one might be a bit controversial) These wars are infintely more safe to fight, and allow piecemeal strategic advantage for the major powers discreetly backing the struggles. You can blame Reagan if you like, the movie star who fancied himself as an economist, political thinker and military expert extraordinaire.

Of course, this is very easy for a post cold war child to say.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2009 at 02:08
The rise of China.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2009 at 07:43
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

The rise of China.
 
Al-Jassas
Once in the past it was Japan leading the planet some said, but none of it happened.
Chinas rise(production about as biggest european country)? Perhaps - perhaps not.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2009 at 14:26
Where have you been living in the last 20 years?
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dolphin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2009 at 14:40
Japan can only get so big, in fact it's already bursting at the seams. China has infinitely more potential.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2009 at 14:49
Originally posted by Dolphin Dolphin wrote:

Japan can only get so big, in fact it's already bursting at the seams. China has infinitely more potential.


Its also a human timebomb. There are thousands of riots and demonstrations every year in China. Work conditions are in some cases sub human, in the majority just plain disgraceful. Human Rights is an abstraction Chinese children are taught with disdain in official school textbooks. And their mighty export driven economy is largely down to an undervalued currency, something the western world doesn't have the balls to tackle. I think it'll implode in the next twenty years and we'll either get some kind of primitive democracy or even harsher authoritarianism as a result.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2009 at 15:58
The most significant change is technological (though it started a tad earlier that 1990). Xristar is right but there's more to it than that. Partly as a result of computerisation the importance of human labour has diminished considerably: it may still linger in places like China and India but even there it cannot be escaped for long.
 
The result is as significant an economic tectonic shift as that that took place with the effective abandonment of agriculture as the dominant employer. While labour moved off the land but found a home - if an oppressive one - in manufacturing industry, the labour currently unemployable in manufacturing industry and clerical occupations has no obvious home to go to (hence the current economic malaise).
 
I'm not particularly doom-saying, because much depends on how governments and society react to the change, but the change is going to be what distinguishes this particular period from its predecessors at any time since the mid 19th century (except to some extent for the 1930s).
 
In that it could conceivable mean the end of work as a necessity to life for Everyman it could well be the harbinger of a more important shift than any in history since perhaps the introduction of agriculture and settled communities.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AksumVanguard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2009 at 18:35



I'm going to disagree that the electrical technological progression  has regressed, have you guys heard of the recent advancement of "Cordless Electricity".There has also been devices with machine and mind  thought interface which is undoubtedly a pinnacle.

 With  the introduction of internet communication , the masses are not easily fooled and indoctrinated with the philisosphy and civic duty of the government.




Quote
http://www.nextgenpe.com/news/cordless-electricity/

Cordless electricity: is it the future?


Do you find electrical power cords a nuisance? Are you fed up with tripping over your laptop's power cord on the way to unplug your cell phone charger? Well, all this could be a thing of the past within the next 12 months as electronic devices, such as phones and personal, computers could start shedding their power cords.


Just because manufacturing and automated factories are seeing an upsurge rise does not mean there will be an end  for human labor. Conditions like this can cause a fracture in countries since the availability of manufacturing would become more readily available.More independent fractured countries will take a rise if  you think about it. If there is an overproduction of any of the new technological advancements,it would mean more countries will have access to the technology,along with putting the new manufacturing capability to good use.

One good example of this is probably Hong Kong after its independence in 1997. Hong Kong seems to have held their own, and are stable, fully capable of governing themselves. West Berlin and West Germany during the "Cold War"  is another good example, since they were able to become progressful and not necessarily depending on the support of other country's. Singapore is also small but is able to excell in advancement also.


I think the 3 most important instances in the past 20 years is the decline of Communism.  And the mapping of the Human Genome and Stem Cell research. These advancements in medicine actually prolong the human life. Which will create a domino effect.



Edited by AksumVanguard - 15 Sep 2009 at 20:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2009 at 20:52
Originally posted by AksumVanguard AksumVanguard wrote:


Just because manufacturing and automated factories are seeing an upsurge rise does not mean there will be an end  for human labor.
I didn't say an end to human labour, but an immense decrease in the demand for labour with consequent endemic unemployment, itself producing a further decline in demand to keep the spiral turning.
 
In that situation the world has to come to terms with the fact that it doesn't need 6 billion people to support six billion people: that maybe one person's fulltime week can support 25 or 50 people, and only 1 coouple of hundred million are needed to work, even though the other nearly six billion are still needed as consumers.
 
One way the much smalle productivity explosion of the 19th/20th centuries was coped with was by the shortening - very nearly halving of the work week. If the average working week was still 72 hours there'd be even more massive unemployment. Most people may end up not working at all (even though the economy is producing enough to support them): or maybe everybody will be working one or two days a week.
 
Both would represent immense changes in society. 
Quote  
One good example of this is probably Hong Kong after its independence in 1997. Hong Kong seems to have held their own, and are stable, fully capable of governing themselves. West Berlin and West Germany during the "Cold War"  is another good example, since they were able to become progressful and not necessarily depending on the support of other country's. Singapore is also small but is able to excell in advancement also.
Hong Kong after 1997 (it didn't become 'independent' by the way - it changed masters), Berlina nd Germany in the 50s and 60s, Singapore over the last couple of decades, have all been riding on a global economic bubble that has burst. The circumstances aren't in the least comparable.
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I think the 3 most important instances in the past 20 years is the decline of Communism.  And the mapping of the Human Genome and Stem Cell research. These advancements in medicine actually prolong the human life. Which will create a domino effect.

Prolonging human life will of course simply exaggerate the problem of inadequate employment.


Edited by gcle2003 - 15 Sep 2009 at 20:52
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